Human-animal bond projects approved

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During November, the Executive Board approved several items that revolve around human-animal bond activities.

The board approved $6,500 to cover travel, lodging, registration, and expenses for President-Elect Bonnie Beaver and a Committee on the Human-Animal Bond staff consultant to attend the 10th International Conference on Human-Animal Interactions in Glasgow, Scotland. The board believes the Association should have a strong presence at the meeting, given the importance of the human-animal bond and the issues that will be discussed at the conference. Those include legislation and companion animals, the benefits of animals to human health and quality of life, animals' roles in the education of children, and training and qualifications in animal-assisted activity and therapy. Because the AVMA is the largest veterinary association in the world, it's consistently looked to as the lead association for veterinary concerns. Given the importance of the human-animal bond, and of the issues to be specifically addressed during this conference, it is important that the AVMA assume a visible presence. The AVMA participated in the 1995, 1998, and 2001 triennial meeting.

The board also approved the production of a quarterly pet health column for use in a newsletter that Merial will distribute to veterinarians for communication to clients. Steve Dale, Tribune Media Services syndicated pet columnist and radio personality, requested the AVMA's participation.

"We don't have a better friend in veterinary medicine than Steve Dale," said AVMA President Jack O. Walther. Dale won the 2002 AVMA Humane Award for his efforts on behalf of animals and his exceptional commitment to animal welfare.

The four-page newsletter will have columns by Dale, Merial, and the AVMA. Veterinarians will be able to customize it by dropping in their practice masthead or swapping out one of the articles with news from their own practices. Potential articles could include the latest developments in companion animal medicine, dog bite prevention, and issues on behavior. All funding will come from Merial, which plans to distribute the newsletter to veterinarians via the Internet or CD-ROM.

At the request of Dale, the board also approved lending the AVMA name to an Animal Planet radio program, "Vets on Pets." This program airs Saturdays, around the country, on 63 radio stations. Numerous, well-known AVMA members have been frequent guests on the program, covering current events in pet care and veterinary medicine. The phrase "presented by the AVMA" or "presented in cooperation with the American Veterinary Medical Association" will be added to the show's introduction.